The holiday season can be a stressful time to stick to your standard healthy eating habits. There are holiday parties, travel, shopping, an abundance of holiday goodies lying around the office and home, and there is more time spent indoors and less time exercising.
Here are a few tips/tricks to help you try to help you stay on track during this busy holiday season:
Drink Lots of Water
Although experts may disagree on the source of common water intake recommendations, there’s one thing that all doctors and nutritionists agree on: Humans need fluids. However, the specific amount that any individual needs varies according to a number of factors, including their weight, diet, where they live, and even the current season and weather patterns.
Bring your own Dish
Going to a Holiday party? Office gift exchange? An easy way to exert control over your holiday eating is to bring a healthy dish of your own to the meal. Volunteer to bring a vegetable soup or salad for the appetizer, or perhaps a healthy vegetable roast for a main dish. By bringing your own healthy food, you can control at least one portion of the meal, ensuring that you don’t fill up on overly rich appetizers and snacks. And the best part of bringing healthy food along is that other guests will thank you! As they say, never arrive to a dinner party empty handed.
Start your health-centered New Year’s Resolution early by practicing thoughtfulness while at the table. Eating slowly and savoring every bite can not only increase the enjoyment of food, but it gives your body enough time to recognize that it’s full. According to The Huffington Post, it can take up to 20 minutes for your body to feel full once you start eating.
Be Careful with Drinks
Drinks can be sneaky when it comes to calories. It might not look like it, but sometimes the eggnog, mulled wine and holiday cocktails contain more calories than some of the food! Alcohol can also increase appetite and reduce inhibitions, which can lead to over–eating. An easy way to keep beverage portions under control is to serve drinks into tall, skinny glasses and limit the number of drinks you serve and consume. And non–alcoholic drinks are no exception, as they often contain excess sugars and syrups.
Spread the Joy
This is the time of year that we pull out our aprons, dust off our stand mixers, and get to work baking in huge batches. Keeping all your leftovers on hand can be tempting to continue to indulge long after the holiday is over! It’s best to enjoy sweets in the moment and then move them along. Instead of keeping desserts in the fridge, consider sharing your baked goods with coworkers or neighbors.
Reset the table
The utensils we use to eat can have a surprising effect on our eating habits. If we use bigger plates and utensils, there’s a good chance that we’ll fill up those plates and then eat them more quickly. This year, use portion control to set the table.
Use smaller plates to help measure fullness and small utensils to eat slowly. This also works with smaller glasses when the eggnog comes around.
Kick off the party with veggies
It’s hard to make room on your plate when it’s already filled with mashed potatoes and gravy. Instead, make sure to load up with veggies first so that everything else has to fit around them. This will help balance your portions and give your plate the color it needs. It’s also a good idea to eat the veggies first to help give your stomach that high-fiber, fullness feeling.
Naps are a tempting activity after any holiday feast – yes, food comas are a real thing – but keep your sleep on schedule by heading outdoors. Take post-dinner walk with your family or friends. Or get a touch-football game going in the yard. Bad weather? You can still get active by playing a high energy game like charades or putting on some holiday tunes for an impromptu dance party!
Eat before the Meal
Whether you are hosting a holiday meal or attending one with friends and family, it’s always a good idea to eat something small and healthy before the actual meal. Eat a healthy cereal or yogurt for breakfast, or maybe fill up on a fruit smoothie on the way to the party. That way you won’t be ravenously hungry by the time the mashed potatoes and pies come out. It’s a good idea not to skip meals in general, as studies have shown that eating three square meals per day can keep you healthier in the long run.
Drink Lots of Water – So Nice we listed it twice!!
Although experts may disagree on the source of common water intake recommendations, there’s one thing that all doctors and nutritionists agree on: Humans need fluids. However, the specific amount that any individual needs varies according to a number of factors, including their weight, diet, where they live, and even the current season and weather patterns. Water is essential to a healthy you. Drink, Drink, and Drink some more.